January 20, 2019

New Assamese Album ‘Mur Sapoon’ Released

On the occasion of Shilpi Diwas, ‘Mur Sapoon’ – a modern Assamese song album was released at the Guwahati Press Club. The album which marks the debut of Manika Barua, was formally released by well-known musical artistes – JP Das, Bhupen Uzir, Nilima Khatoon, Pahari Das and Kanika Bhattacharya

The album introduces the listener to the special talent of Manika Baruah, who demonstrates a startling gift for songwriting apart from her wonderful singing skills. Songs like ‘Mur Sapoonote Je’, ‘Tumar Morombur’ and ‘Nila Nila Akashkhoni’ reveals her abilities, where the singer draws on her own experiences with profound words of hope and optimism. Everyone heaped praises on the singer and believed that there is certainly still so much more to come from the singer-lyricist.

Manika Baruah also renders the catchy ‘Phool Ki Kebal Phule’, which is written by eminent lyricist-poet Nirmal Prabha Bordoloi, and tuned by JP Das. Another song ‘Bohage Rong Sane’ is written and tuned by the experienced Bhupen Uzir, who has composed the music in the album. During the release function, Manika Barua opened up about the strength she draws from her family – husband and two daughters, who inspired and helped her believe in herself, her talent, and her abilities.

January 18, 2019

Roopkar Awards 2018 Presented

There are few who haven’t heard of Pabitra Kumar Deka. His passion and influence for art-culture were extraordinary. He is the man behind making writings on cinema or theatre an integral part of journalism in this part of the world, particularly in the vernacular media. He was the visionary behind the pioneering cultural magazine ‘Roopkar’ and instituting the first film awards in Assam, the Roopkar Awards, back in 1975. He was also a famous satirical litterateur, editor, drama critic, prolific writer of essays and compositions, director of TV serials and documentaries, etc. He generously shared his vast knowledge with everyone during his lifetime, and encouraged many a young and talented artiste. 

One of his most outstanding subsequent accomplishments was his realisation of the historic value of every published article, book or photograph related to cinema. A priceless repository of information of Assamese cinema, the archive he has left behind comprises of books, magazines and periodicals on films, still photographs, cassettes, CDs, VCDs, which have been systematically preserved. Last year, the much anticipated Pabitra Kumar Deka Archive – a first of its kind, was declared open by Kanak Sen Deka, eminent litterateur and former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha

The Roopkar Awards, instituted in the memory of this distinguished cine-journalist and litterateur, was presented to Samarendra Narayan Dev, noted writer-director of popular films like 'Aranya', 'Putala Ghar' and 'Sonar Harin' for the year 2017, and Tapan Das, a prominent photographer of Assam, who started PVTI, a leading photography institution, for the year 2018, in a function held at the premises of the Pabitra Kumar Deka Archive, on January 5. 

The awards were given away by distinguished educationist and ex-Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University, Dr. Amarjyoti Choudhury, who spoke about the significant contributions of Pabitra Kumar Deka in the field of culture. 

The programme, anchored by National Film Award-winning film critic Utpal Datta, was graced by a number of noted film and media personalities, film enthusiasts, admirers, among others, including Udayaditya Bharali, Kopil Bora, Sanjeev Hazorika, Prabin Hazarika, Namrata Datta, Bidyut Kumar Bhuyan, Jitumoni Bora, Hemanta Kumar Das, Mrinal Das, etc.

January 17, 2019

Rima Das Bags ‘ICC NE Excellence Award’

Young and acclaimed Assamese filmmaker Rima Das was honoured with ‘ICC NE Excellence Award’ by Indian Chamber of Commerce at North East Business Summit at Hotel Le Meridien in New Delhi on Thursday.

The North East Business Summit is an annual event which aims to promote business and investment opportunities in the Northeast which is jointly organized by Ministry of Development of Northeastern region, Government of India and the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Recently, Rima Das has been nominated for the ‘Best New Director’ category for her film ‘Bulbul Can Sing’ at the 13th Asian Film Awards 2019.

Rima Das had won several national and international awards for her film ‘Village Rockstars’ that has rocked the cinema world because of its uniqueness. The film ‘Village Rockstars’ was also the India’s official entry to the Oscars.

She also won India’s National Best Film and Best Editor Awards announced on 13 April 2018 by Government of India appointed jury headed by filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor for her much appreciated film ‘Village Rockstars’ .

GQ India named her as one of the 50 Most Influential Young Indians of 2018.

Adda Short Film Festival 2018 Concludes

The 15th edition of Adda Short Film Festival 2018, the first-ever open air film festival in Northeast of India, concluded recently at the Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society, Guwahati. The festival, held under the aegis of ADDA in association with Aucto Creation, featured some fabulous lineup of short films this year that demonstrated the talents of independent filmmakers from far and near. Since 2004, the festival has been celebrating the efforts of new filmmakers, promoting diversity of cultural expressions, holding discussion sessions in order to exchange ideas, information and knowledge.

This year, the festival held discussions on two topics, which enlightened the filmmakers, writers, critics, students and connoisseurs of cinema.

The discussion on the subject – ‘Cinematic Journey of Late Pabitra Kumar Deka’, was participated by  an expert panel  comprising of eminent writer and former principal of Cotton College Udayaditya Bharali, filmmakers Sanjeev Hazorika, Prabin Hazarika, Hemanta Kumar Das and Mridul Gupta, cine-journalists Apurba Kumar Das, Bidyut Kumar Bhuyan, Utpal Datta and Arunlochan Das, art director Phatik Baruah, among others. Pabitra Kumar Deka’s name is forever etched in the state’s cultural scenario. From making writings on cinema or theatre an integral part of journalism in this part of the world, particularly in the vernacular media, to publishing the pioneering cultural magazine – Roopkar, or instituting the first film awards in Assam way back in 1975, the Roopkar Awards, the distinguished cine-journalist and litterateur broke new ground with each of his enterprise. 

On the other hand, the discussion on the topic – ‘New Thinking New Films’, was participated by several rising filmmakers and technicians including Deep Choudhury, Himjyoti Talukdar, Manjul Baruah, Jhulan Krishna Mahanta, Kangkan Deka, Debajit Gayan, Indranil Kashyap, Sourav Mahanta, Khanjan Kishore Nath, among others. The sessions were anchored by Amar Deep Gogoi, President of ADDA. The festival has certainly proved to be a happy gathering ground for rising filmmakers and technicians, film buffs and enthusiasts to meet, make new acquaintances, discuss film techniques and exchange ideas. 

The Adda Short Film Festival opened with Parthajit Baruah’s well-received documentary ‘Chiaroscuro’, while Deep Choudhury’s ‘Cafe story teller’ was the closing film. The festival invitees were Dip Bhuyan's ‘The Divided Soul’, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta’s ‘Yugadrashta: The Visionary’, Sibanu Borah and Ramen Borah’s ‘Sikar Aru Sitkaar’, Indranil Kashyap’s ‘Kula’, Deep Choudhury’s ‘Cafe story teller’, Utpal Dutta’s ‘By-Lane 2’ and Ruksana Tabbasum’s ‘The Cake Story’. 

The Jury, comprising of Utpal Borpujari, Deep Choudhury and Bhaskar Jyoti Das, adjudged Chandra Shekhar’s ‘Murti’ as the Best Film in the fiction category. While ‘No’ (The Home), directed by Sujit Debbarma and Pranab Jyoti Deka, bagged the Best Documentary award, the award for Best Animation Film was presented to Kankan Jyoti Borthakur’s ‘Bhoot’, and the Jury’s Special Award was presented to ‘Fade In’, directed by Ankur Jyoti Deka. 

Prantik Deka 

Assam’s Proyashree Hazarika Receives Asia Pride Award

She has built on her fame to debunk the stereotypical concept of beauty as slim or zero size. As they say, beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. For Assam-born Progyashree Hazarika, what really matters more than being slim is being fit and healthy, be relatable and stand upright in the world's eye. Its her confidence and a positive attitude that makes her stand out from the others. 

Recently, Progyashree was honoured with the Iconic Woman Diva Award during the 89th All India Achiever’s Conference and Iconic Woman Diva Awards function, held at Hotel Samrat in New Delhi. 

She is also the brand ambassador and coordinator of Anti Corruption Foundation of India, a registered institute, which is working for the awareness of eradicating corruption across India and awareness of traffic rules. The foundation also honoured Progyashree with the Asia Pride Award. She received the award from well-known actor Raza Murad in a function held at The Vivan Karnal, located in Haryana. 

Prantik Deka

December 29, 2018

The Fouth Pillar

In 2016, noted senior political journalist and writer Jitumoni Bora brought out a book that takes an objective inquest into the true nature of journalism in Assam, uncovering a number of concealed truths and stories. Based on his own experiences over the years, his book - ‘Siyahir Rong’, enabled readers to have a refreshing look at the field throughout the 312 pages of the searing novel. The astonishing lengths to which he traversed to unfold the truth behind the façade impressed many, most notably distinguished litterateur Dr Lakshmi Nandan Bora, who found his novel intriguing and exceptional. Modern journalists can actually borrow a leaf out of his work. 

Revolving around a daily newspaper, its owner and an honest journalist, this lively story, penned by an active journalist, will now be turned into a movie by yet another journalist. The film’s script, too, is being written by a journalist, as is the dialogue. What’s more, the central role will also be portrayed by an established journalist. 

Journalists have had to undergo a lot of dilemmas and pressures in the work place. They have always been objective and neutral in their assessments of various issues, be it political or social. They have regularly been exposing the government and the bigwigs of society, indulging in various corruption and immoral practices. However, the problems mostly stem from the fraudulent misuse of power by the newspaper proprietors for their own ends. A number of journalists, vulnerable as they are, are exploited and oppressed by their superiors and newspaper owners, who hold them on a tight leash. Journalists have no option other than to keep quiet or pander to the wishes of their superiors for fear of losing their jobs. It’s an all-pervasive issue faced by journalists everywhere, including Assam. 

Journalist Sasanka Choudhury - the main character of ‘Siyahir Rong’, has to face the ire of the government and is sentenced to a jail term for refusing to compromise with his ideals. On the other hand, journalist Simanta Saikia fights relentlessly against the malicious motives and corrupt practices of his newspaper proprietor. As a watch-dog of his society, he is aware of his responsibilities for the greater good of society. A man of strong convictions and beliefs, he always strives for freedom and truth.

So far, no Assamese film has ever been made or for that matter, no Assamese novel has ever been written that genuinely discloses the dark side of the Fourth Estate – its hidden truths. After reading the novel, filmmaker Prodyut Kumar Deka evinced a lot of interest to make a film based on the subject. He has already made quite an impact with his films ‘Dhunia Tirutabur’, ‘Samiran Barua Ahi Ase’, ‘Surjyasta’, among others. But very few are aware of the fact that he has also made a name for himself as a cinema journalist. Prodyut, who has also penned the script of ‘Siyahir Rong’, is quite excited to be working on this project, like everyone else. 

The role of Simanta Saikia will be portrayed by popular cine-journalist Bidyut Kumar Bhuyan, who will be making his cinematic debut. He will be pitted against popular actor Jatin Bora, who will play the role of Sasanka Choudhury. The film will also feature artistes like Towfiq Rehman, Arun Nath, Mrinal Das, Mridupaban Dutta, Melody Patgiri, Debika Priyam, etc. The new film is all set to start production early next year.

Prantik Deka

December 14, 2018

‘Suspended Inspector Boro’ Off to a Flying Start

Amidst thundering applause, Assamese film ‘Suspended Inspector Boro’ witnessed a houseful premiere on December 6, at the Carnival Cinemas in Beltola, Guwahati. The film got released across theatres in Assam on December 7.

The film, by the team of successful Assamese films ‘Local Kung Fu’ and ‘Local Kung Fu 2’, is a serious action thriller starring actor Utkal Hazowary in the title role. The basic acting ensemble has remained largely the same; it’s just the characters and their situations that have been reshuffled.

Written and directed by Kenny Basumatary, ‘Suspended Inspector Boro’ is also releasing in the metro cities, depending on cooperation from multiplexes outside Assam, on December 14.

The film is jointly produced by Bhishan Rai, Priyama Goswami and Kenny Basumatary. “I must thank and congratulate the team. We have managed to greatly raise our production values this time. The fight scenes are a tad more realistic than in the past. We have broken a lot of stuff in this film. Hope the public enjoys the experience,” said director-actor Kenny Basumatary after the premiere.

Speaking about ‘Suspended Inspector Boro’, filmmaker Bhaskar Hazarika, of ‘Kothanodi’ fame, said: “I am thrilled to see Kenny’s new film getting a wide release in the State. It’s an entertaining Assamese martial arts film but with a script that is conscious of gender and other social issues of the day. I urge people to watch the film in their nearest cinema hall.”

“We are glad to see this level of interest among the filmgoers for an Assamese film. From the audience reaction at the premiere, we can easily say that ‘Suspended Inspector Boro’ will be a hit. We at Carnival Cinemas, are proud to play host to your entertainment,” said Ratul Pachani, CEO and managing partner at Matrix Mall, Carnival Cinemas, Beltola.

The plot, written by Kenny Basumatary, starts with Inspector Boro already suspended for bashing up a highly connected gang. A preview of the sequence was already released on YouTube which went viral. Inspector Boro gets a call from an SP who asks him unofficially to find a girl named Sabrina Rai, who’s gone missing three days ago. She was taken from her Udalguri village to Guwahati on the pretext of job training, but now her phone’s been switched off for three days and she’s vanished. Inspector Boro heads to Guwahati and fights his way to the truth.

Interestingly, Kenny is playing the main villain, Inspector Lokkhi Modon Jwala. The cast of artistes also include Eepsita Hazarika, Sarmistha Chakravorty, Mrigendra Konwar, Montu Deuri, Suneet Bora, Mumbai-based Poonam Gurung, who is a new addition, among others.

Suruj Deka returns to handle cinematography duties and director Dhruva J Bordoloi (‘Dooronir Nirola Poja’) colour graded the film.

An eclectic mix of songs have been composed for ‘Suspended Inspector Boro’ – ‘Mukto Aakax..’ by rising star Shankuraj Konwar (sung by Eepsita Hazarika), ‘Aaji Kiyo Janu..’ by Utkal (a duet with Sarmistha Chakravorty), a rap track on garbage management, sung by Bonny Deori and a hard rock piece by Derrick Correia and Anisha Saikia. The first three songs have recently been released on Youtube to great response. The background music and sound design are being done by Marathi Filmfare award winners Utkarsh Dhotekar and Ranjan Pattnayak respectively.

A Hindi version of ‘Suspended Inspector Boro’ is also being prepared. All the scenes were shot twice – once in Assamese and once in Hindi. The Hindi version is expected to be ready in January next year. Director Kenny says, “I hope Assamese people will help spread the Hindi version among their non-Assamese friends.”

Prantik Deka

December 13, 2018

Season 4 of 'North East’s Got Talent’ to Beam Soon

After achieving success with the show titled ‘North East’s Got Talent’ (Season 1, 2 & 3), a multi-talent reality TV show, Sanchita Production has again started the Season 4 of the show, which is going to be telecast at the Rengoni Channel. It is a talent show that features singers, dancers, musicians, jugglers, riders, actors, magicians, comedians, fine arts artistes (drawing, painting), and other such performers of all ages starting from six to sixty, competing for a number of lucrative prizes and gift hampers. It will be showcasing performers from across the region with a promise to bring amazing and never-seen-before talent and entertainment to the audience. 

A true celebration of the North East spirit, this long series offers an opportunity on a platter to amateurs and hopefuls wishing to strut their stuff on stage. Directed by director-actress Sanchita Talukdar, the reality show is divided into different segments like Audition, Mega Audition, Quarter Final, Semi Final, Finale and Grand Finale. The Guwahati audition is scheduled be held on December 23, 2018 at Kamrup Academy, Guwahati Club, Guwahati. To participate in this mega reality show, one can call 8011987870. The entire concept and idea is by Jyoti Kakati, the producer of the show.
Prantik Deka

December 12, 2018

Bobby Sarma Baruah’s ‘Mishing’ Screened in IFFK

Bobby Sarma Baruah’s ‘Mishing’ (The Apparition) was recently screened in the Special Focus Section of the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala, which took place from December 7 to 13, in Trivandrum, Kerala. Based on Sahitya Akademi awardee Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi’s novel, the film, a suspense thriller that intermingles the spiritual and the supernatural, explores the myths and legends of the Sherdukpen community in Arunachal Pradesh, while it makes an earnest attempt to preserve its dialect which is on the verge of extinction. 

Shot in the scenic locations of Arunachal Pradesh, the film talks about driver Singh, a Manipuri deserter, who grows roots with Arunachal’s exotic Sherdukpan community, suddenly disappears one day, only to resurface after decades and once again vanish behind a curtain of curious questions. The film also refers to a local belief about spirits of dead people appearing and trying to communicate with their loved ones.

Filmmaker Bobby Sarma Baruah took almost two years to research and get familiar with the culture. The music, aesthetically compelling, has been used in keeping with the local culture and traditions, and it’s the villagers themselves who have sung folk songs in the film. The film also contains Buddhist chants that they are used to practicing. 

The film, which had its world premiere at the Kolkata International Film Festival 2018, is produced by Sulakhyana baruah and co-produced by Basanta Kumar Baruah and Bobby Sarma Baruah. The casts of artistes include Rajib Kro, who appears as the protagonist, Tsering Dorjee Khrimey, Mala Goswami, Prem Dorjee Monoj, etc. The film’s cinematography is by Sonu, music is scored by Shashank Kothari, sound designed by Rahul Rabha and the editing is by Ratul Deka.   

Prantik Deka